Trackers bale out of Footsie casualties

Market Report

THE SEEMINGLY remorseless slide goes on. Footsie crashed 101.7 points to 4,648.7, its lowest since June last year.

Banks, despite a modest Barclays rally, remained under pressure and some of the recently high-flying telecoms shares were again earthbound.

Such is the state of the market that there is already a tendency for some tracker funds to try and position themselves for the next Footsie review, not due until December.

WPP, the advertising group, is a classic example of anticipating the Footsie judgement. The shares have, like so many others, been completely demoralised but their discomfort has intensified in recent days as Footsie considerations have mingled with the obvious vulnerability of the advertising industry in a possible recession.

The shares had the dubious distinction of leading the latest retreat, falling 36.5p to 202p against a 1998 high of 476p. On present form WPP is a Footsie casualty; its valuation has fallen below pounds 1.8bn.

The trackers are already taking evasive action by selling the shares. They are adopting a similar approach to other Footsie shares in the danger zone such as fund manager Amvescap, down 27p at 263p, and Sema, off 34p to 376p.

As WPP and the others weaken the pressure becomes more intense as the action of the tracker funds make relegation an (almost) self-fulfilling development.

The mid cap index is another area of anxiety. On Friday Business Post, down 22.5p to 252.5p, and engineer Laird, up 13p to 158p, were thrown out to accommodate the two Hillsdown spin offs. Hillsdown, at 100p, and offspring Terranova, 140p, and Fairview Homes, 102.5p, collectively produced a modest but commendable gain.

Footsie's latest fall was achieved against another somewhat unexpected slump in New York and yet further Tokyo weakness. Soothing words after the G7 meeting had no impact and even a UK interest-rate cut on Thursday may be ignored unless it is significant - say, 0.75 percentage points.

Barclays ended its headlong plunge, although a 29p rally to 867p was far from convincing as it denied that it intended to sell Barclays Capital, its investment banking albatross.

British Energy, up 11p to 576p, enjoyed investment house Merrill Lynch support following what was seen as an upbeat output statement. National Power improved 10.5p to 567p after selling some exploration assets to little Dana Petroleum; NP has lifted its Dana stake to 8.56 per cent and picked up pounds 9.4m.

Talk of corporate action creating mega-utilities was also in the air, helping NP as well as PowerGen, up 12.5p to 886.5p. A weaker pound comforted exporters, with British Aerospace up 20p to 332p, and General Electric Co 17.5p to 417.5p.

Marks & Spencer fell 21p to 437p as BT Alex.Brown, worried about a possible sharp deterioration in trading in the past month, slashed its profits forecast by 3 per cent to pounds 1.025bn. For next year the cut is 10 per cent to pounds 1.13bn.

Railtrack, which has for long blissfully ignored the screeching market brakes, was for once shunted into reverse, falling 59p to 1,575p. The company, at a 1,713p peak last week, met analysts last night. It has fixed up a deal with British Land, down 20p at 523p, to develop more land at Railtrack's Broadgate site in the City. Merrill downgraded its BL stance, citing a deterioration in the outlook for City office demand while financial markets are volatile.

Zeneca, down 107p to 1,873p, was hit by Merrill selling. Computers remained in the doghouse; besides Sema, Admiral plunged 210p to 872.5p and CMG 169p to 1,241p.

The cut-price Inchcape sale of its Russian Coca-Cola operation killed off what sparkle was left at Coca-Cola Beverages, sending the shares down 11p to 106.5p; Inchcape dropped 6p to 105.5p.

Danka Business Systems, with another dismal trading statement, crashed 36.5p to 44p; last year the price was 712p. Engineer Headway reported a profits gain, but with bid talks ended the shares fell 10.5p to 39p.

Calluna, the computer security group, fell 1.5p to 14p despite Williams de Broe support and Weir, the engineer, gained a further 6.5p to 187.5p, seemingly on a pounds 14m pump development.

Waverley Mining held at 9.5p. Corporate Resolve, an Ofex traded company, is bidding for 26 per cent but other possible bidders are said to be on the sidelines.

Former chief executive Willie McLucas is one; an Australian miner is also thought to have expressed interest. There are also suggestions that Anglesey Mining, unchanged at 6.75p, might attempt a share exchange offer.

Nord Anglia, an educational group, slumped 30p to 213p as ABN Amro cut its estimate. It is thought to have been reduced from pounds 5.7m to pounds 3.8m.

SEAQ VOLUME: 835.8 million

SEAQ TRADES: 73,444

GILTS INDEX: 115.46 -0.52

Suggested Topics
News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Quantitative Risk Manager

Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits